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tv   Washington Journal Rep. Peter Welch  CSPAN  March 27, 2019 7:59pm-8:35pm EDT

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findings of the mueller report that were summarized by attorney general william barr in a letter to congress. that is followed by president trump posthumously present in the middle of honor to army staff sergeant travis atkins who died in 2007 while serving in iraq. later, secretary of state mike pompeo testifies in congress about the budget request for the state department. " continues. --"washington journal" continues. peter is good morning to you. guest: good morning. host: we should have it right away because all we are talking about is this four-page letter summarizing his conclusion and his views. it.ybody wants to see
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let's get it sooner rather than later. host: when you receive the report, what happens with it? guest: we read it. here is what i think we do know. i accept mr. mueller made the confusion -- the conclusion the president was not colluding with the russians and the active interference in our election. what he also said is that he was not exonerated. the question of obstruction while mr. barr has said he has come to the legal conclusion you cannot obstruct, we do not know what the specifics. the report will reveal an immense amount of the basis upon which the mueller report reached the first conclusion and the second one where he really did not render an opinion. host: are you surprised he did not render an opinion on that? guest: without reading the report, i cannot say. there are two issues.
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one is the fine legal distinction about whether something has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of a prosecutor that he or she could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt and the other question is political. what kind of conduct was the president and the people around them engaged in? that is where every citizen has an interest and a right to come to their own conclusion when we receive the report as to whether that is appropriate conduct for a president. host: how do you suspect it will shape, guide, your current investigation into the president's activities in the white house? guest: the mueller report is the gold standard and the main question that was before him was, was there active conclusion -- collusion by the president? he has concluded there was not. host: and you are satisfied with that? guest: i have always said the mueller report is the guidepost
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here for it i accept that. this in norma's amount of activity that has been proven by mueller is really, really inappropriate. you have the campaign manager of the president going to jail. you have the national security advisor actively involved in inappropriate discussions with the russians. he lied about it, he is likely to go to jail and there were several others as well as the active intervention by the russians in trying to tilt the election toward president trump. that is the undisputed conclusion of intelligence agencies and by the mueller report as well. these things are disturbing and i think there will continue to be a discussion about that. on the question of whether the president himself, candidate trump was guilty with colluding with russians and their interference, i think we have to accept the mueller report. host: our guest with us for the
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half hour. 202-748-8000 for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans. independents, 202-748-8002. you can tweet your thoughts at@. .- at @cspanwj counterintelligence issues still being investigated. is that a worthwhile pursuit? guest: anything that gets at the truth of what the russians did. keep in mind our election was interfered with by a foreign government, by the russians. whether you voted for trump or clinton, that should be of concern because you are entitled to have your vote count, not the russian interference count more than your vote. we want to find out exactly what they did and make certain we take every step we can to , particularlye russian interference in our elections. trade.ou are a lawyer by
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what is the gold standard when it comes to finding something when it comes to obstruction? guest: i am a lawyer, but we are in a political environment. it has been very politicized already, the back and forth with what the white house has done and back in sport -- back-and-forth disputes between the democrats and republicans. any crime is beyond a reasonable doubt. the american people have to decide what standards they expect of their leaders and frankly, while the mueller report has given -- the president said he has not colluded with the russians even though all these people were colluding with the russians and even though he was aware the russians were interfering, that is a judgment call for voters to decide to we want that? there was a time when vice president gore was running for president. when they were doing debate
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preparation, tom downey was playing the part of bush. -- gote transom, he gap a copy of the debate. he did not read it, he gave it to the fbi because he knew that was a crime. that is not what happened when the trump folks got word of what the russians were up to. host: our first call comes from doug in washington state on the republican line. good morning, go ahead. doug from washington state, hello? caller: hello. i don't understand how come our sayinghis morning keeps they were convicted of colluding when none of them were. it was for lying and tax evasion and stuff like that. general flynn had every right to talk to the russians. he was going to be the
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whatchamacallit. mueller said no one colluded. not trump or anyone in the campaign, that is what it says. guest: thank you. they did get convicted. was the national security advisor and he is having inappropriate contacts with the russians and lying about it. that is serious. we can argue if it is collusion or whatever the legal term is, but he committed a crime and the line was about -- lying was about trying to cover up what those actions were. you are making a distinction i disagree with, but the bottom-line point, what is he doing talking to the russians inore he is, in fact, sworn and they have foreign policy responsibility? we only have one president at a time here. host: joe, hello. caller: good morning.
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was wondering about the trump tower meeting. they got a letter from the russian government and a lawyer from the russian government and then they lied about it. on,p lied about it later saying it was about adoptions. we know both of those things are lies, we know this. how can that not be conspiracy and a cover up? i don't understand. guest: a lot of people don't understand and one of the theons you should read mother report is i expect to those points will be discussed in great detail and i will have more information and come to some conclusion. the point you are making is a good one, whether it legally crossed the line of a crime, mueller came to the conclusion all the activities did not do
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that. on the other hand, should we have our candidates meeting with russians and having them in his home? that is the question and i don't think a candidate should have their agents like the campaign manager talking to a foreign entity about the command -- about the campaign. host: do you expect the copy you receive will be redacted and are securitywith the concerns that have been expressed about the process? guest: i certainly respect security concerns if that is the basis of any redaction. if there are certain sources or methods, things that would threaten national security if revealed, yes. sometimes that is used as an excuse to keep us from getting information that the public is entitled to know and we cannot come to judgment on that until we see the report. that caller made a very good point, there are questions that reasonable people have on both sides.
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trump folks and folks who don't like trump. ideally, we are going to get the underlying material, access to that that mueller had that was the basis of his conclusion. host: there were calls to have this available to you april the second. if that comes and goes, is there any penalty for that? any recourse? guest: the recourse would be a subpoena and a court battle. be thatrence would it was voluntary and it should be changed in his mind. what they have been able to do is with the report, still secret, the mueller four-page press release in the view of some out there, that is the story. -- of us in the press there is a lot more in the report and that will allow us to have a discussion about the
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meeting of the findings. host: here is kevin in maryland. comments.have two first on the obstruction of justice charge, it is really absurd because the whole investigation was baseless from the beginning. it was supported by misinformation from the intelligence agencies and the democratic party. to the extent there was interference, i think it should be -- it was obstruction of injustice, not obstruction of justice. guest: i have to say i disagree with you. this special prosecutor was appointed by attorney general sessions. this was someone in the trump orbit who knew there was something serious. the special prosecutor got convictions on many people, including people very close to then candidate trump. third, we had this overwhelming
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evidence of the russian interference and there were 18 indictments of russian operatives who are beyond our reach, but who were actively interfering in the outcome of the elections. this was not a situation where there was smoke, there was plenty of fire. the question ultimately on collusion by the president, mueller came to his opinion, there was definitely not only evidence, but convictions based on that evidence that there was bad stuff going on. host: charlene in ohio, republican line. caller: how are you this morning? guest: hi. caller: hi. i have a couple questions for .ou why all this -- he was cleared of collusion. he was cleared of collusion, no obstruction and when he fired
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comey, he had every right to position andr his rod rosenstein wrote the letter fired.nding comey to be ok? then all of a sudden it is obstruction of justice. when are you democrats going to start investigating your side when it was known that hillary through her campaign behind everybody's back, a lawyer to go to that one guy in that -- host: we got your point, caller. we will let our guest respond. guest: i disagree with you and
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basically it sounded like the white house talking points. first of all, the mueller report did not render an exoneration on obstruction. there is collusion and obstruction. it appears to be the case, we have not seen the report, that mueller did not say there was no obstruction. we have to take a look at the report. secondly, the question of the firing comey, the president made it clear he wanted that investigation to end. he was tweeting it, he was saying it, saying it was all bogus. he was doing all these things that obviously were about trying to get attorney and roll sessions, he talked to mr. comey and said he wished it would go away. these are things where it raised a serious question about what the motivation was. on this question of obstruction, if you have the power to fire a
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person, it doesn't necessarily mean you can do it if the motivation is you want to obstruct an investigation that may result in jeopardy for you. he had the legal authority to .ire comey the question, and we will read the report, was the basis of the firing. host: the trump administration -- through the justice department asking to reconsider the aca. how serious is this? guest: it is really very serious and, in my view, quite cynical. your earlier callers were talking about the cost of health care. they are right, it is -- it is too expensive. the trump administration say they wanted to abolish the affordable care act where there is no replacement. we went through this already.
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we have to focus on how do we make a more efficient system, more affordable system and bring down the cost of prescription drugs? the abolishing of our entire structure of health care rather than focusing on cost is a way of bringing down cost by kicking people off of access. it means the big achievements that everybody really likes that you get coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have a child born into this world and has a condition that needs ongoing medical care, that you do not get denied coverage because you get an illness or born with an illness. that is a huge achievement and important for us to maintain he is attacking it. host: what is the recourse of democrats in the house are planning for? guest: first of all, i would be
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astonished if the court did that because fundamentally, it is such a legislative action, this is the purview of the elected representatives of this country to set up something like a health care system more like we did social security or medicare, two problems that were controversial and now totally essential to the well-being of people in this country. how can the courts abolish an action taken by congress? it is an indication, even with our supreme court, that it is getting too political. let's hope the court does not lose its mind on this. house democrats are planning a series of bills to bolster the aca. guest: it is a photo bitterly -- it is affordability. republicans failed in their
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effort to repeal and there was never a replacement, they started attacking it bit by bit. they were starting to unravel the market and the result was it created disruption in pricing and hardship on people. as a result of them taking away some of the subsidies and the efforts to get people to enroll, it resulted in higher premiums and that became the argument it was too expensive even though these were manufactured crises. we want to restore subsidies for middle income families at a cut where they don't get the help they need. we want to reassert our commitment to maintaining access regardless of whether you have a pre-existing condition or not. we are also going to start trying to attack these high costs. we want to get the cost of prescription drugs down. it's not whether you voted for trump or clinton, you are paying
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too much for prescription drugs. we pay -- way more than our competitors. insulin is outrageous. this has been around since 1920, it is not as if there has been a scientific breakthrough, but the price keeps going up and up. one of the callers was talking about a broken market. it is broken because it is all s workinge manufacturer' with the consumer. i was at the white house with mick mulvaney as chief of state and a czar said the same thing. i am ready to work with him and my democratic colleagues are as well. that would be a real good thing for us where all would benefit. we in the congress have got to start focusing on doing things
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that are going to make things better economically for everyday americans and things like bringing down the cost of prescription drugs, making certain there is net neutrality, having an ambitious infrastructure plan that helps in our cities and rural america. these are the few of the things we should be doing and they will be good whether you voted for trump or hillary. we have to do things that start addressing income and equality. host: this is from massachusetts, independent line. we will hear from greg. caller: hello? guest: hi. byler: i would like to start telling the gentleman the woman that called a little while ago i thought he was very rude to her by telling her all she is doing is carrying the white house's
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talking points. she cannot have an opinion of her own that matches the president without being a parent? guest: first of all, thank you. if i was offensive, i apologize. it did literally sound like that, so i did express that. perhaps i should not have done that. that could be her opinion and that regard, you are right. host: michael in indiana, independent line. caller: first of all, i want to say i am a true independent. i did not vote for democrat or republican. i am a true independent person. i know you are going to say i am saying talking points. i am just a plain, everyday person. i am not nobody special. i am a person that has common sense and seeing this whole thing through. you are getting on here and -- it started us
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with barack obama who said it was ok to start the investigation and start wiretapping mr. trump. after that it went to the dossier. after that it went to richard steele who made the dossier and then ukraine helping out hillary clinton. -- you all on air are confusing your own people, the democrats, telling them every day the same stuff about donald trump and he is a racist and all this stuff. we know the common, everyday people like me that work every day, get up every day and go to work every day, i know you are lying to me. host: we will let our guest respond. guest: first of all, everyday people are the backbone of this country. you get up every day and go to
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work and that is really, really good and important. , there ared convictions of people very close to president trump. those were not convictions the democrats got, these were pursued by the independent investigator, mr. mueller who enjoys a solid reputation for integrity with republicans and democrats. he is a republican. this isn't me talking, this is the mueller investigation talking. paul manafort convicted, michael flynn, convicted. the deputy campaign manager, convicted. these things happen and this isn't talking points by democrats or republicans, this is the action of a respected property -- prosecutor and all of it had to do directly or
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--irectly with these president trump rejected the decision that there was collusion. there is -- interference in our election. host: chuck, go ahead. caller: you talk about russian interference -- let's talk about when obama said after the election, i will be a little easier on you. let's talk about bill clinton $500 to russia and getting million while hillary clinton was secretary of state. we can talk about these convictions you just talked about and they did not have anything to do with russia.
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flynn has gone broke. guilty.o go you have ruined an honorable man with this bowl crab. crap.bull guest: that is more an opinion then a question. whatever happened with clinton and other presidents has to be evaluated on its own terms. said.s he said, she this is what happened during the trump campaign and the trump administration. .here were convictions some people may have thought there never should have been an investigation, but this investigation was done in an impartial way by a respected prosecutor who, as a result of the evidence he obtained got a
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solid conviction. host: the house failed to override the president's veto yesterday. talk about the results and what does it mean for future requests for emergency declarations? guest: -- alexander said you cannot just make up the claim it is an emergency because you did not get your way and that is a bad precedent to have for a president. let's say we have a democratic president and he or she says it is an emergency on climate change, i happen to think it is an emergency and they start taking from all these agencies to combat climate change. i think we should combat climate change, but we have to get legislative approval to take the concrete steps. the only emergency was the president did not get his way on the wall and what is so important is not just the issue of the wall or not, it is the
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separation of powers and a system we have had in this country since its founding of the checks and balances. the appropriation authority rests with the house and senate. the president, what he has done is i don't care what you did, i don't care what your article one authority is, i am going to take money from military projects you authorized that i wanted and i am going to spend it in another way i want. that is a dangerous precedent. host: from texas, our republican line. go ahead. know why they so byisted on having the paper april 7 when it took more than two years almost to investigate. and also, it is a national emergency. why are you all investigating
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the president when you should be working on building a border with all of these immigrants when you sense -- when you spend $60 billion in this year alone on illegal immigrants when the people in the united states are suffering, taxpayer money, and on abortion? that is what you need to be fixing. first of all, it took two years for the report, but the report is done. this is not a difficult act. it is on the mueller desk, it is on the barr desk. they need to give it to the press so you have direct access to it as well. just delivering it. it is not redoing it. secondly, there is legitimate debate about what is the situation, what is the best way to address it at the border. i am for secure borders. that does not justify a president who fails to get support even from his own party
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in some cases for this wall to make a unilateral decision that he is going to do it. so this emergency is not just about the wall. it is about the separation of powers and how our constitutional system of government operates. you may be supportive of the president's position on the wall. but let's say you had a different president and you did not support what he wanted to spend money on on the basis of him declaring it "an emergency that would be upsetting to you. we have to have standards here and constitutional rules that apply, whether you are a democrat, republican, or independent. host: when you get the physical report, will each member of the committee get a copy, and how are they protected once they are delivered? guest: what is going to be delivered i think is going to be public. that is my hope. it will not do our democracy good if there are only 535 reports that go to members of
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the congress but the rep help -- but the public cannot see it. this has to be made available to everybody. be of national security importance, that will be redacted presumably from everyone. this is a situation were even as a member of congress i had some access to information in the public was denied, i would prefer not to have that. it.nt the public to have if there is secret stuff that only a few people know about, it will undercut everyone's confidence as to what is in the report. i strongly believe that whatever is released to the congress has to be released to the american people. host: peter welch serves on the intelligence and government reform committees for the state of vermont. one more question. you mentioned net neutrality. a subcommittee you are on, is taking a look at this. why is this an issue in this day
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and age? guest: because the current federal communications commission unraveled the protections the fcc provided to make certain the internet providers could not interfere with your internet, depending on whether you are a big or small buyer, whether you are a small struggling start a business or a giant business that needed it. we want rules for the road that make certain that if you are in the a tiny town in the most rural part of this country and you have an idea, they are going to have the same access to the internet that the big guys have. host: do you see any support of that coming from the senate side or the white house? guest: the white house appointed mr. chi, and he is the one who attacked fcc protection. i am not sure we will see much support from the white house, but there
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>> late wednesday, house judiciary committee chair jerry barr hasid william agreed to testify on the mueller report at a date to be determined. this after the attorney general said he was likely to meet the april deadline set by democrats to make the report public. he did confirm, however, that the contents of the report were not part of the discussion with mr. barr. ♪ journal,'s washington live every day with news and you.y issues that impact coming up thursday morning, republican congressman buddy carter of georgia discusses the future of the affordable care climate change. sheila jackson lee, democratic congresswoman of texas, talks about the efforts to reauthorize
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the violence against women's act. we sure to watch live at 7:00 a.m. eastern thursday morning. discussion. here's a look at our live c-span. thursday on the house is back at 9:00 a.m. to consider a resolution opposing the trump's transgender military ban, which is set to going to effect next month. later, we hear from president trump as he holds campaign rally in a grand rapids, michigan. on c-span2, the senate debates a bill on whether to provide additional funding to areas affected by hurricanes, wild fires, and other natural disasters. on c-span3, the senate energy and natural resources committee considers the nomination of david bernhard to be interior secretary. he has been serving as acting head of the department since january following the resignation of ryan zinke. ♪
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only thing we have to fear, is fear itself! what your country country canhat your do for you, ask what you can do for your country. and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon! [applause] >> c-span's newest book, the presidents. noted historians mark america's best and worst chief executives, provide insight into the lives of the 44 american president through stories gathered by interviews with noted presidential historians. explore the life events that shaped our leaders, challenges they faced, and the legacies. they have left behind c-span's the presidents will be on shelves april 23. but you can order your
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copy today at or wherever books are sold. on wednesday, president trump posthumously awarded the medal of honor to army staff sergeant atkins, who died in a rack in 2007 after he tackled a suicide bomber to protect three fellow soldiers. the highest one of honors presented to service members who display acts of bravery in combat. the son of staff sergeant atkins was at the ceremony to accept the metal on his father's -- the medal on his father's behalf. ♪ [applause]


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